Forty Under 40: Christina Karnatz

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,638 views 

Class of 2017 Forty Under 40 Christina Karnatz Associate Director of Development University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest

Christina Karnatz is a storyteller.

It’s what she did as host and reporter for almost six years on the radio program Ozarks at Large, and it’s what she does now as associate director of development at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest, a role she’s held since May 2016.

As a fundraiser for the Office of Community Health and Research, she tells the stories of minority populations and their healthcare needs.

In particular, she works with the Marshallese and Hispanic populations in Northwest Arkansas.

“I’m telling the story of someone that doesn’t always have a voice,” Karnatz said. “Northwest Arkansas is growing fast. Not only is it bringing in Wal-Mart vendors, it’s bringing in people who might need help. They need to be welcomed warmly, and we need to have services for them.”

The Fayetteville native was raised by parents who valued volunteerism and helping those less fortunate. “They instilled that in me from a young age,” Karnatz said.

In fact, it was Karnatz’s work as an AmeriCorps member that initially led to the radio hosting job at the National Public Radio affiliate KUAF 91.3 in 2010.

Before KUAF and Ozarks at Large, she worked for several years as a waitress and then restaurant manager, after deciding a career in accounting wasn’t for her.

Karnatz was drawn to storytelling at a young age, acting as editor for her high school newspaper, but she chose a different route for her undergraduate career, earning a degree in international business and accounting in 2005 from the University of Arkansas.

Now, she is back in school and studying online for a master’s degree in communication and media from Purdue University.

Karnatz enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, ages 2 and 15. She also likes to read, including the Sunday edition of The New York Times, and she likes to swim, do yoga and Jazzercise.